OLYMPIA - The Thurston County Public Health and Social Services office of Housing and Homelessness Prevention received a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce in the amount of $999,376. The funding is intended to help the county respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically to help public health meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Activities funded under this grant will be performed in accordance with the Washington State COVID-19 Outbreak Emergency Housing Grant Guidelines. The money can be used in four ways:
- Housing beds for potential isolation or quarantine
- Retention of current and addition of emergency shelter beds
- Increasing sanitation and hygiene mechanisms for unsheltered individuals such as handwashing stations or portable toilets
- Other costs associated with addressing the public health needs of people experiencing homelessness and displaced from their housing due to COVID-19
“The funds will help us to increase emergency shelter capacity and outreach activities among other important actions. We’ve been working across jurisdictions to find ways to support and protect this population,” said Keylee Marineau, the Thurston County Homeless Prevention and Housing Coordinator. “The funds will be enormously helpful to support the actions the county is already coordinating with partnering outreach workers and shelter providers.”
The county is also working with its partners to:
- Coordinate food delivery with outreach and shelter providers to decrease the need for people to leave their shelter location to get food.
- Explore options to increase shelter beds for those who have been displaced due to social distancing rules.
- Establish potential isolation and quarantine beds for homeless and displaced individuals who are ill.
- Increase hygiene and sanitation by funding portable toilets and handwashing stations.